Measure It Out
Standing at 555 feet tall, and spreading to 55.5 feet wide at the base, DC's Washington Monument is one of our greatest landmarks. But just how big is that? We can easily calculate the area and perimeter of the monument's footprint (which we should do), but we should also head out of doors to measure it for ourselves.
How might we get a good idea of its height?
Some Lofty Comparisons
It's not our tallest monument any more. Compare the Washington Monument with some of our other great monuments.
What else might we compare to the height of the Washington Monument? Make scale illustrations for display.
According to CNN, following damage by a Virginia earthquake and Hurricane Irene, both in 2014, the Washington Memorial needed to be closed and restored. It would cost millions:
For the restoration project, Congress allocated $7.5 million, and philanthropist David M. Rubenstein matched those funds with a $7.5 million donation via the Trust for the National Mall.
Keep that in mind when you realize the total cost of building the monument in the first place, from 1848-1888, was only $1,409,500.
Here is an explanation for the reason why the monument was deteriorating in other ways:
Now, let's make a Five Whys explanation for something else that has happened. In a silly way, this might sound like The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, but it's really an exercise of Cause and Effect. Pick the result of something (big or small) that you have seen or that has happened, and trace that event or result back, in five steps, to its initial cause.
Can you find a picture to illustrate each step? Perhaps this can become a slide show, poster, presentation, or video to be presented.
Build It Up
So we know the Washington Monument in Washington, DC, was the tallest structure when it was completed. Since then, many have dwarfed it.
How tall of a tower can your team build? Using the building tools and the guidelines provided by the teacher, and building within the time limit (also provided by the teacher), which team can build the tallest tower. Be ready to discuss the thinking and methods that make a tower strong.
A fascinating part of the Washington Monument story lies in its cornerstone. According to a History Channel webpage:
On July 4, 1848, the monument’s cornerstone (embedded with a box containing such items as a portrait of George Washington, newspapers, U.S. coins and a copy of the Constitution) was laid in a ceremony attended by thousands, including a then little-known U.S. congressman from Illinois, Abraham Lincoln.
Sometimes we forget that George Washington was only a man - not a superhero - an ordinary man who achieved extraordinary status.
Each of us has different opportunities in life, but we all have opportunities. Perhaps we must make those opportunities for ourselves, but we each have the chance to make the world a better place.
If we were to build a monument to commemorate your accomplishments, why items might we include in its cornerstone? Choose five items that would represent you and tell your story. Choose items that demonstrate your interests and accomplishments, but remember to keep them small (They have to fit in a small area.). Be prepared to show and tell about your selected items.
The DC monument itself is a time capsule. There is a complete documentation of the monument in a 241-page pdf provided by the National Park Service. Beginning on page 25, you can find a record, including photos, of the commemorative stones that are located along the stairwell. Apparently these awesome stones are only visible through the elevator window.
A regal statue of George Washington stands atop another monument to our first president in Baltimore, Maryland. A time capsule was included in it, as well. Watch the videos below to find out more about the items in the capsule.
Numbers for Math
Create some Math word/story problems from the following factual information:
The Washington Monument most of us think of (There are others.) is the obelisk that stands prominently in Washington, DC. The tallest structure in the city, the monument proudly announces the glory and our appreciation for the "Father of our Country".
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